Dermatology missed appointments: an analysis of outpatient non-attendance in a general hospital's population

Authors


  • Conflicts of interest: None

Abstract

Background

Non-attendance of scheduled appointments is a serious issue in dermatology hospital practice with implications in patient care. Herein we aim to characterize the population of non-attendees of dermatology appointments at a general hospital.

Material and methods

A prospective study was carried out of the reschedule requests received from January to December 2009 at a dermatology outpatient department of a general hospital. Variables such as gender, age, type of consultation, justification for non-attendance, timing between missed appointments and the reschedule request as well as rates of other missed appointments were analyzed.

Results

Throughout the study period, 265 patients filed a written request to reschedule a missed appointment, of whom 165 were female and 100 were male. The age distribution displayed two peaks, one in the second and the other in the sixth decade. Regarding the type of consultation, there was a clear predominance of missed follow-up consultations. Confusion and illness were the most frequent excuses for non-attendance.

Conclusion

We propose to identify patients at risk of missed appointments and suggest interventions to overcome this pitfall and improve patient outcomes.

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